What is rainmeter?
You might be wondering what this powerful and resourceful tool everyone seems obsessed about called rainmeter is. Well, allow me to explain:
Rainmeter is a useful tool which will allow you to display customizable “skins” on your desktop. With the help of these different skins you are able to keep a track of useful information such as your system status, to-do lists and RSS feed.
It is a Windows customization application which is widely used by many users worldwide. This app allows you the power to customize each and every aspect of their desktop and alter it to suit your liking as well as needs. The customization factor, in my opinion, is what makes it a hit with most users. Customization is done through the help of what Rainmeter terms as skins, but generally you might know them as widgets.
These widgets can either be for utility purposes or to help you keep a track of useful information such as the weather or the news.
How to use Rainmeter?
Rainmeter is an app which can be easily downloaded and installed on your computer. The installation process is simple, and also offers you two methods of installation: portable install or full install.
The portable install allows you to install the application n a folder which you can then use via your flash drive in any computer.
But before you get started, it is important to be familiar with some rainmeter specific terminology. The app uses a few words differently than we would, and hence to make sure that what I’m saying remains clear, let us learn a little more about these terms:
- Skin: As mentioned earlier, skins are nothing but widgets that are used by the rainmeter app to allow its users the ability to customise their desktop. These widgets are kind of like small applications in themselves. They can serve a number of purposes and help you make your desktop more efficient.
- Skin suites: This is essentially a theme for the different skins on your desktop. Many authors create a suite which fits all of the different skins on your desktop. This allows your desktop to have a more cohesive appearance.
- Layout: A layout helps you pick and choose the position of the different skin on your desktop. Once you have positioned the different skins the way you want, you can save that configuration as a layout and then load it again later. This way you can have as many or as little skins on your desktop as you would like.
How customizable does it really get?
The different skins on Rainmeter are made using two building components: measures and meters.
Measures help the skin gather information from a source such as your computer or a website or even a text file.
Meter helps alter and manage the skins appearance such as the presence of borders, images, etc.
The different skins are able to interact among themselves with the help of certain special commands known as bangs and they, too, are customizable via changing lines of text that are called variables.
Since Rainmeter is an open-source application, the users themselves can participate in certain aspects of the application. The codes used to program the different skins that are available in the app are completely modifiable and can be tweaked and changed as per the users will.
Does that mean you need to be familiar with coding in order to be able to use skins?
You may be thinking that if the codes for the skins are available to be modified, then the user will need to be familiar with coding in order to be able to customise the skins to their liking. But, you need not be worried. Rainmeter provides all its users with a library that allows the user to always have some control over some of the aspects of the skins, such as its height, width, transparency, etc. Hence, you will be able to customise them to a great extent.
The fact that Rainmeter is open-source allows other creators or authors to be able to create different skins on rainmeter for other users to use. The creators will often add customization options for the other users who may want to use the skins designed by them. Again, this gives the user the ability to alter the skin to their liking, but they are still limit to the customization options that have been provided to them by the author.
However, it may so happen that the user may want to alter the skin to a greater extent than is facilitated by the creator of the skin, then such a user will need to be able to write and understand code language. Or even if the user wanted to create his or her own skin, they would need to have some knowledge of programming language. However, this is not very difficult since an advanced knowledge of programming (although that option is certainly available for those who wish to use it) is not required to alter the skin since its basic properties are written using novice level of programming language.
The ability to create a skin on the rainmeter app is actually often considered to be the fun part of using this application. Since the basic components of the different skins are written using simple code language, it is not very difficult for most users to try their hand at it. Moreover if a fellow user actually becomes interested in creating different skins and wished to use the advanced settings, the knowledge of code that they would require for it may also come in quite handy for them in the future.
What are the best sites to download Rainmeter skins for Windows 10?
Now that we have learned a little about what Rainmeter skins are and how they work, let us find out where we can actually get these customizable skins:
- DeviantArt: This site is the hub of all artists and art enthusiasts that feature excellent artistic pieces. It also has a huge repository of different Rainmeter skins that have been created by different users. In fact, Rainmeter themselves recommend this site when they tell you which places you can safely download rainmeter skins from. This site checks each and every skin provided by a user for malware and hence provides a better experience for the users. Additionally, this site has such a dedicated portion to rainmeter skins that it has a different category altogether as well as a special rainmeter forum which is filled with screenshots, how-to articles and guides.
- Lifehacker: This community is filled with users of Rainmeter. The editors of this site often feature how-to guides for popular Rainmeter skins and help you achieve those layouts with the help of screenshots. The site is filled with images of different beautiful and unique skins that allow you to sift through them and select ones that you like. The screenshots provided by the site are also accompanied by useful as well as helpful information.
- Reddit Rainmeter: Reddit has dedicated subreddit for rainmeter (r/Rainmeter) which is basically a community of rainmeter users who not only share different skins with each other but also useful information. Different queries are easily answered with the help of these forums. Here, you may find various tips and tricks that will help you get the most out of your desktop as well as some common troubleshooting guides. A truly helpful site that allows you to use rainmeter in a much easier fashion while also offering you tons of customizable skin.
- Rainmeter Forum: Rainmeter offers its own forum wherein users may gather and exchange ideas. Through this forum users can also exchange different sins. The skins here are almost always innovative and unique, and can be easily used by Rainmeter users.
- RainmeterHub: This is a different website than rainmeter wherein you can explore a large variety of different skins. These skins are quite easy to manipulate and install to your desktop. This site is filled with tons of free skins.
What should you keep in mind when you are downloading Rainmeter skins?
The fact that there are so many different types of skins that are available on the internet is quite overwhelming. Each new skin seems to be more exciting the one before it and initially, you may end up installing and uninstalling many different types of skins.
However, just as with any software that is available on the internet, users should be careful to avoid any sort of malware when downloading the different skins for rainmeter. In fact, Rainmeter, themselves, understand how a user’s experience can be ruined if they are subjected to malware which may harm their computer when they download a rainmeter skin. This is why they have taken certain steps to ensure a safe and secure experience for their customers.
The user should never download a file with the extension .exe claiming to be rainmeter skin. In fact, rainmeter skins have their own skin format, which is the .rmskin format. The more recent version of Rainmeter requires authors to create new skin suites or packages with the use of Rainmeter’s newest addition, the Skin Packager. This helps reduce the risk of someone tampering with the skins. Downloading a skin with this format is also ultimately easier for the user since they have a built-in skin installer that helps the user install the skin with no effort at all.
Though older versions of certain skins may be available in a .zip format that requires manual installation, Rainmeter recommends that you try and find a newer version of such skins.
It is important to first assess the author of the skin. Many prefer downloading skins from well-established authors that have a high number of downloads and page views. New authors that do not have much profile information or downloads may be suspicious and users should be a little wary of them. Additionally, if a user disables comments on their submissions, it is best to avoid downloading their skins.
But if you find that comments are open and active of a submission it is better to take a moment to read the comments to understand whether anyone has had a bad experience with that particular skin. If not, then proceed with installing the skin. If yes, then steer clear of it and help other fellow users do the same by reporting the submission.
If you are still wary of downloading a skin use VirusTotal. It is a helpful tool where you can upload a file and check it against more than 40 different anti-malware services and receive results regarding its safety.
So what is Rainmeter essentially?
Rainmeter is actually quite a powerful tool that can be used by different users to customise their desktop to make it more efficient. The different features that are offered by it are used quite creatively and since the application is open-sourced it allows users to explore and enjoy each other’s creativity.
But while Rainmeter is a powerful tool, it does not possess the ability to actually change the appearance of your windows desktop completely. You cannot change how your start button appears or the icon for your windows explorer and other files that are built-in your computer. Your taskbar will appear the same way as it always did before and so will your other desktop icons. The appearance of these applications as well as their icons remains completely unchanged.
Rainmeter does not help you create work spaces. That is, it does not double as a window manager. It will not help you set up dal screen or even help you with minimizing or maximising an already open application. If you are using a music app or a video app, you may be able to pause, play or rewind the on-going music or video. But in order for the skin to be able to do so, the actual application still needs to be open in the background and it cannot be closed.